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House Approves Expanded Screening for Newborns

May 2, 2001
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

Making sure babies are healthy is the goal of legislation that's gotten final approval from the Missouri House of Representatives.

Missy Shelton has this report on a bill that would expand disease screening for newborns.

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Right now, there are 17 treatable diseases that newborns could be screened for but the state doesn't require it.

That would change under legislation that's received overwhelming support from the Missouri House.

Wes Shoemyer says he decided to sponsor the bill because of an incident involving his family.

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In hopes of saving other babies from a similar fate, Shoemyer wants to give the state health department funding to buy a machine that can perform screenings for diseases like cystic fibrosis.

But the department won't have that machine for two years.

During debate on the bill, state representative Matt Bartle encouraged Shoemyer to provide funding for some screening to be done out of state.

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Though Bartle voted in favor of the screening legislation, he did issue a word of caution.

He says he wants to make sure expanding mandetory screening will be beneficial.

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The additional cost of the new 17 screenings will fall on the state and insurance companies.

The cost will go from 13 dollars per child to 38 dollars.

Shoemyer says catching diseases early will actually save money.

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The newborns screening bill has gained final approval from the Missouri House and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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